The Wiederkehr Heritage
In 1880, Johann Andreas Wiederkehr and his family emigrated from Switzerland to Altus, Arkansas (Altus comes from the Latin word for "high"). He chose St. Mary's Mountain, near Altus, as the location of his home in the New World because the area's mountains, valleys, and ridges had many different microclimates, some resembling the grape-growing climates in Europe's finest wine regions. Here in the beautiful Ozark Mountains high above the Arkansas River valley, the very shape of the countryside, the soil, and the climate closely matched that which for centuries had nurtured some of Europe's great wines.
In his new homeland, one of Johann's first tasks was to carve a large wine cellar from a hillside. The cellar still exists, and is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Johann's wine cellar was converted into the Weinkeller Restaurant, serving authentic Swiss and European culinary delights to thousands of visitors at the Wiederkehr Village and Winery each year.
Johann's first wines were produced from the grapes, blackberries, and persimmons that were native to the area. By planting the noblest grape varieties and producing fine wines, he helped to pioneer the American wine industry—Wiederkehr Wine Cellars is U.S. Bonded Winery Number 8. From these humble beginnings, the winery has remained a family operation with third and fourth generation members dedicated to producing only the finest wines available.
Many of our fine wines are made from grape varieties that were believed to be ungrowable in our portion of the United States. Knowledge, care, and patience have prevailed however, and the results are wines that reflect both the Swiss-German heritage of our family, and its 125 years of devotion to American winemaking.
Wiederkehr's aim is to produce truly great wines that are worthy of the connoisseur's palate, but available to everyone who appreciates a proud heritage, over a century of craftsmanship, and the quality they represent. We hope your pleasure in tasting Wiederkehr wines will equal our pleasure in preparing them for you.
Our Winemaking Philosophy
Simply stated, the best grapes make the best wine. The fine sandy soil and the many different microclimates in the Wiederkehr Village and Altus areas produce the best grapes. The various locations of vineyards were selected through the years by using test plots and keeping exacting records of the results. Through this research, we have determined the best locations and microclimate for each variety to produce the finest quality of grapes possible.
Combining the best grapes with careful pressing, fermentation, aging, and quality control create fine wines that delight the palate. As harvest time approaches, our viticulturists and wine master carefully monitor the grapes to determine the right time to harvest. Samples are sent to the lab for analysis, and when the grapes are at their peak, the harvesting begins.
The grapes are picked and rushed to the winery where they are immediately crushed and begin their transformation from juice to wine. The fermentation juice, called "must," is constantly checked and controlled to bring out the delightful characteristics of the wine. After proper aging in casks, the wine is bottled and further aged in the cellars; at the proper time, the wine is released for your enjoyment.
Because of our careful research and our dedication to superior production, we produce premium wines from European grape varieties that consistently rate with the best wines from around the world. Blind tastings in national and international competitions against foreign and other American wines prove Wiederkehr a winner time after time. We invite you to visit the Wiederkehr cellars and vineyards, to dine in our Weinkeller Restaurant, and to taste our wines—judge for yourself.
|©Copyright 2001-2008 Wiederkehr Wine Cellars, Inc., Wiederkehr Village, Arkansas.|